Banjo on Australian Currency

It’s nearly two years since the Reserve Bank of Australia visited us at the Banjo Paterson… more than a Poet’ Exhibition on the 17th February 2017 to unveil for the first time in Australia the new $10 note with its new safety features and the images of both Dame Mary Gilmore and Banjo Paterson – one on each side.

The release of this note Australia wide was in the following September and it is now fully accepted into everyday life with hardly an older note to be seen in any change of a transaction.

It’s very interesting to read the history of the first currency (apart from Rum) that the early colony of Sydney Town used back in 1814.The New South Wales Holey Dollar was the first true currency to be used by the English Penal Settlement in Sydney Town.

In 1812, the Sloop of War “SAMARANG” reached Port Jackson carrying 40,000 Spanish Dollars along with instructions to Governor Lachlan Macquarie to use them to correct the chronic shortage of ready money which had plagued the colony since first settlement in 1788.

Macquarie engaged a transported forger, William Henshall, to punch a central plug from each dollar thus creating two coins from one. The outer ring was then counter stamped New South Wales 1813 on one side and the value five shillings on the other. The central plug (dump) was also overstruck but with a value of Fifteen Pence and a crown.

Both coins were placed into circulation in 1814 and were not permanently withdrawn until 1829. The outer ring was known variously as a Government, Ring, or a Holey Dollar. Of the original 40,000 coins, less than 300 are known to still be in existence.

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